Australia Posts First Quarterly Decline in Population Since 1916

Australia recorded the first quarterly fall in its population since World War I as more people departed the island nation than arrived in the three months through September.

International border closures resulted in the population falling by 4,200, or 0.02%, to 25,693,059, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in a release Thursday. Net overseas migration dropped by 34,800 in the third quarter, with 55,400 people departing Australia and 20,600 arriving from overseas.

“Decreases to overseas migration have been observed over the last two quarters,” said Phil Browning, director of Demography at the ABS. “The last time we saw population decline was the year to December 1916, during World War I, when the population declined by 51,500, or 1%.”

Australia’s shut its international borders last March to stem the spread of Covid-19. The central bank forecasts population growth of just 0.2% in the 12 months ending in June this year, compared with 1.7% prior to pandemic.

“It’s unlikely that migration growth will meaningfully pick up until at least mid-2022 and is highly dependent on the re-opening of borders should Covid-19 vaccines impart herd immunity, enabling greater international mobility,” said Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at the securities unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.